Group B: Germany – Herr There or Thereabouts

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More tongue-in-cheek Euros previewage from the Back of the Net boys. Here, John Foster on a team you could never call a dark horse: Germany...

Famously always there or thereabouts, Germany were last there in 1996, and an exciting squad will fancy their chances of being there again in 2012 after 2008's final defeat to Spain consigned them to thereabouts.

Road to Poland and Ukraine
Germany qualify automatically, since a European Championships without Germany would be like a summer’s day without the sound of children’s laughter.

Tournament pedigree
Winners of three European Championships and an equal number of World Cups, Germany’s consistent success is attributed by many experts to the fact that they’re always really good. A brief experiment with being really bad ended in humiliating failure at Euro 2000, and has not been repeated since.

The Manager
Since replacing Jürgen Klinsmann in 2006, Joachim Löw has proved himself to be one of the brightest coaches in world football, despite constantly looking like an apprehensive homeopath. “Jogi Löw” is also the most fun name to say aloud of any of the Euro 2012 bosses, though it is also fun to attempt to say “Laurent Blanc” while holding your nose.

Man to watch
Bastian Schweinsteiger will be desperate to go all the way, after a season of near misses that saw him finish runner-up in the Bundesliga, lose in the final of the German Cup and the Champions League, and come second in a creative writing contest with a short story about a time-travelling architect who solves mysteries.

Did you know?
Germany’s classic kit of white shirts and black shorts is modelled after the Fulham team that swept all before them in the Southern League Division 1 in 1906/07.

Worth a bet?
Germany are available at 3/1 to be there, and an even more tempting 6/5 to be thereabouts. Consider backing them each way.

More from Back of the Net
Group A: Poland • Russia • Greece • Czech Republic
Group B: Netherlands
• Germany • Portugal • Denmark
Group C: Spain • Italy • Croatia • Republic of Ireland
Group D: Ukraine • England • France • Sweden